Armageddon???? - Part Eighty One Up

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Post by Peptuck » 2008-08-19 04:56pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:Most fighting to the death is incidental, anyway. You're just fighting so hard that you don't quite realize you're screwed, and then you're dead and you can't think about it anyway. I doubt it occurred to many men in a lot of last stands that they were truly doomed--they just needed to hold off the enemy one more time, and then relief would get through.
True. And the vast majority of soldiers, once they realize that they are trapped or surrounded, would probably attempt to surrender - unless they know or think that their opponents won't accept surrender.
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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-08-19 05:05pm

I'm reminded of a movie I saw, about a kid who met the ghost of a famous Conquistador.

Kid: But your last words! You said 'I gladly give my life for my queen and mother Spain'.

Conquistador: Are you kidding? My last words were 'LET ME OUT I DON'T WANT TO DIE IN HERE!'
Stuart: The only problem is, I'm losing track of which universe I'm in.
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Post by Stuart » 2008-08-19 06:21pm

Peptuck wrote:True. And the vast majority of soldiers, once they realize that they are trapped or surrounded, would probably attempt to surrender - unless they know or think that their opponents won't accept surrender.
Actually, the remarkable thing is that troops will surrender even if they know the enemy will kill them anyway. The need to survive now overrides the prospect of death a few minutes later. There's a similar effect in robbery-massacres at places like restaurants. The victims will obey the person holding the gun and let themselves be herded like sheep into a back room and shot even though if they all went for the criminal, most of them would survive. What made Flight 93 remarkable was that the people on board fought back; that's very rare.
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Post by Pelranius » 2008-08-19 06:55pm

Stuart wrote:
Peptuck wrote:True. And the vast majority of soldiers, once they realize that they are trapped or surrounded, would probably attempt to surrender - unless they know or think that their opponents won't accept surrender.
Actually, the remarkable thing is that troops will surrender even if they know the enemy will kill them anyway. The need to survive now overrides the prospect of death a few minutes later. There's a similar effect in robbery-massacres at places like restaurants. The victims will obey the person holding the gun and let themselves be herded like sheep into a back room and shot even though if they all went for the criminal, most of them would survive. What made Flight 93 remarkable was that the people on board fought back; that's very rare.
I suppose that also applies to why soldiers would continue to fight on when faced with the threat of their officers/rear echelon machine gun squads shooting them if otherwise? The Red Army in the opening stages of Operation Barbarossa and the KMT during Nanjing both come to mind.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-08-19 06:57pm

You rarely hear stories of one or two people rushing the gunman while the others cower in such situations, either, as Stuart mentioned, even though that might prompt the others to action. What usually happens is that 2 or, if it's a big enough group, 3 or 4 will dash out--escape--in the initial confusion, and the rest will get shot and killed.
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Post by Setzer » 2008-08-19 06:59pm

Or in the Ciaphas Cain books, where Cain repeatedly says he'll choose probably death over certain death anyday. Staying alive just a little bit longer means you might find a way out. Admittedly, that's mainly an empty hope outside of fiction.
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Post by Peptuck » 2008-08-19 08:40pm

Stuart wrote:
Peptuck wrote:True. And the vast majority of soldiers, once they realize that they are trapped or surrounded, would probably attempt to surrender - unless they know or think that their opponents won't accept surrender.
Actually, the remarkable thing is that troops will surrender even if they know the enemy will kill them anyway. The need to survive now overrides the prospect of death a few minutes later.
True. The only last stands I can think of off the top of my head where the defenders went into it knowing they'd be wiped out are the Alamo and Thermopylae, and even in the latter case the Thespians surrendered when surrounded, and only the Spartans and their slaves stood their ground. Though in that case, the Spartans were indoctrinated warriors from birth.
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Post by The Duchess of Zeon » 2008-08-19 10:14pm

Peptuck wrote:
Stuart wrote:
Peptuck wrote:True. And the vast majority of soldiers, once they realize that they are trapped or surrounded, would probably attempt to surrender - unless they know or think that their opponents won't accept surrender.
Actually, the remarkable thing is that troops will surrender even if they know the enemy will kill them anyway. The need to survive now overrides the prospect of death a few minutes later.
True. The only last stands I can think of off the top of my head where the defenders went into it knowing they'd be wiped out are the Alamo and Thermopylae, and even in the latter case the Thespians surrendered when surrounded, and only the Spartans and their slaves stood their ground. Though in that case, the Spartans were indoctrinated warriors from birth.
No, the Thespians also fought to the death (the story of Thermopylae is really the story of the Thespians, not the Spartans, the Spartans just had better press, and more power, but it was the citizen-soldiers of Thespiae whose determination and courage were most remarkable); it was the Thebans, the third city-state whose troops were present at the end (the others having been sent away when the Persians broke through), and also the largest (I don't think that's coincidental) which surrendered to the Persians when surrounded. The reason it's not coincidental is that it's easy to select a group of 300 - 700 picked men to fight to the death, because there will always be aberrations from normal human behaviour; once you start getting units greater than a thousand, that's getting progressively harder to concentrate enough men in them who all have the same sort of mentality, and you need them to ALL be like that, because even the picked men will panic and surrender if you have a small number of less fanatical individuals around to start the panic.
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Post by Adrian Laguna » 2008-08-19 10:25pm

I'm pretty sure it was 300 Spartans, 700 Thespians, and 400 Thebans. The largest group is one of the two that fought to the death. Also, while the Spartans and Thespians did not surrender, they did try to break through and escape, which didn't succeed because of the large number of men pressing upon them.

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Post by JBG » 2008-08-20 03:29am

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Peptuck wrote:
Stuart wrote: Actually, the remarkable thing is that troops will surrender even if they know the enemy will kill them anyway. The need to survive now overrides the prospect of death a few minutes later.
True. The only last stands I can think of off the top of my head where the defenders went into it knowing they'd be wiped out are the Alamo and Thermopylae, and even in the latter case the Thespians surrendered when surrounded, and only the Spartans and their slaves stood their ground. Though in that case, the Spartans were indoctrinated warriors from birth.
No, the Thespians also fought to the death (the story of Thermopylae is really the story of the Thespians, not the Spartans, the Spartans just had better press, and more power, but it was the citizen-soldiers of Thespiae whose determination and courage were most remarkable); it was the Thebans, the third city-state whose troops were present at the end (the others having been sent away when the Persians broke through), and also the largest (I don't think that's coincidental) which surrendered to the Persians when surrounded. The reason it's not coincidental is that it's easy to select a group of 300 - 700 picked men to fight to the death, because there will always be aberrations from normal human behaviour; once you start getting units greater than a thousand, that's getting progressively harder to concentrate enough men in them who all have the same sort of mentality, and you need them to ALL be like that, because even the picked men will panic and surrender if you have a small number of less fanatical individuals around to start the panic.
Even the Japanese in WW2 support that thesis Duchess, though they are known for last man stands.

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Post by Stuart » 2008-08-20 12:02pm

Grays Lane, Clifton Council Housing Estate, Outside Nottingham

Time, tide and the SAS wait for no man. Gorgons, they were something different. Gorgons needed care, the available intelligence pointed out that they were uniquely dangerous. They had a means, as yet unidentified, of entrancing humans even when their victims were firmly clad in a good–quality tinfoil hat. The experts had been consulted and the results were disquieting, they suggested that the gorgons could entrance a human just be staring at them. Fortunately, the bit about them turning a human into stone had been discounted, it was believed that they were just a greatly exaggerated version of entrancement. It did appear, though, that the gorgons could kill as well as entrance. Some of their victims had been found with curious spines in them, that was a hint as to how they managed both entrancement and killing.

So, the SAS troops were kitted out in head-to-toe Kevlar, woven to give anti-stab protection as well as against bullet strikes. Of course, that wouldn’t help any if the gorgon started throwing lightning bolts around but one took what one could get. All in all, Captain Greg Crowleigh felt he had taken every precaution he could, the SAS might have a reputation for charging into situations but in reality, a vast amount of careful planning went on first. This strike had been no different although Crowleigh was grimly aware that he and his men were considered the B-team if that. The best of the SAS personnel had been deployed to Hell where they were raising their own particular brand of chaos. Well, now was the time to show the powers that be what his people could do.

“Ready Sergeant?”

The figure behind the grenade launcher nodded although the motion was barely visible behind the gas mask and body armor.

“In your own time then. Your shot is the go-signal.” There had been no need to repeat that, it had been stressed in the briefings often enough but Crowleigh was taking no chances. He hadn’t quite got the self-confidence to trust himself to get the message over. Although he didn’t realize it, that was why he was in the B-team.

The grenade launcher coughed, sending a 40mm tear gas grenade through the downstairs window of the house. An instant afterwards, four more launchers sent similar grenades through the other windows at the front, sending white smoke boiling upwards. Crowleigh started his run, jumping up from cover behind the hedge and heading for the bay windows that marked the living room. The house was a standard council property, similar to thousands of others scattered all over the U.K. This one hadn’t been bought by its occupiers during the 1980s but that wouldn’t change its floor plan. If anything, it made the assault easier for the tenants wouldn’t have made any radical changes the way an owner might.

Two blasts from the automatic shotgun he carried dealt with the window itself, then Crowleigh dived through the shattered glass, landing on the carpet inside in a smooth roll. A figure, human, was staggering around in the white haze of tear gas, wailing and holding it’s eyes. Then, it saw the black shape as Crowleigh rose to his feet.

“Goddess, you’ve come down to save us!” Then there was a brief pause as the human stared at the new visitor through streaming eyes. “You’re not our Goddess, get out of our temple.”

The figure lunged for Crowleigh with hands raised in claws. The Captain didn’t hesitate, one shotgun blast threw the human back against a wall, a second sent it tumbling to the floor. As it died, a Sergeant moved past him and flipped the internal door open. It lead to the hallway, stairs to the top floor leading off from one corner. Another figure was standing on those stairs, holding a piece of wood as a club. The Sergeant didn’t let it speak, although it was so racked by coughing that speech seemed unlikely. The burst from the shotgun blew the figure into rags.

Crowleigh and his men quickly fanned out through the tear-gas ridden house. Individual shotgun blasts or short bursts marked the demise of more members of the cult who had made this house their ‘temple’. The old days of HK-5 sub-machine guns had long gone, pistol bullets just didn’t work well enough against Demons. Two more cult members tried to escape out the back doors but were shot down by snipers who were part of the perimeter that isolated the building. The gorgon inside had evaded capture at least twice already, it wouldn’t make it three times on Crowleigh’s watch. The neighbors had been quietly evacuated, the surrounding buildings checked out then used to house the SAS personnel who were conducting the raid. Further out, a second perimeter reinforced the first. Nothing got through either without being very carefully searched.

Upstairs, Lakheenahuknaasi heard the crash of the windows breaking and the sound of gunfire as the members of her cult were cut down. That didn’t worry her, they were expendable and could easily be replaced if she got the chance. That was the problem, if. The house was filled with a strange white smoke that caused her eyes to stream and her lungs to sear. Worse, the same smoke was having the same effects on the tendrils that adorned her head, they were writhing in an incontrollable red and black mass. Completely useless and without their protection, Lakheenahuknaasi felt hideously exposed as she heard the pounding on the stairs that presaged the door of her room exploding inwards.

Sergeant Doyle saw the ghastly figure in the back of the room, its golden scales not hiding the horror of its appearance. It’s head was crowned by a mass of red and black snakes that seemed to have gone berserk, they were flailing about uncontrollably but he could still see the single eye that dominated each. The threads were shooting off barbs, mostly they were hitting the walls and ceiling but a few came Doyle’s way and that was enough. He leveled his shotgun and fired round after round into the struggling gorgon.

Lakheenahuknaasi felt the shots hit her and knew it was over. She had failed her mistress and her time on earth was done. It had been nice being a Goddess for a while and she had had an insight into what made Yahweh tick. It was good to be adored, even if the adoration was forced on an unwilling subject. The human was standing over her with his shotgun leveled and that was the last thing she saw as the world faded out around her.

“That is one ugly mother.” Crowleigh looked down at the mutilated gorgon on the floor. “Is it dead?”

“I do sincerely hope so Sir. I put ten slugs into it.” Sergeant Doyle had already reloaded his shotgun just in case.

“The orders were to take no chances. Tell Private Bodie to get the refrigerated van over here. The medics will want to dissect this one before it rots too much. And wrap that head up in something, the last thing we want is those blasted snakes shooting off more spines.”

Crowleigh left the house and watched the bodies being assembled on the pavement. More than a dozen humans, some men, some women, all entranced by that single gorgon. It had been busy during its brief stay on Earth. Around the barriers set up by the police, a small crowd was growing, mostly just staring at the bodies as the line grew. The sky-volcano over what was left of Sheffield had gone, the gorgon responsible had been killed at last. It had proved a reasonably good day after all.

Underground Fortress of Palelabour, Tartarus, Hell

Euryale woke with a shock, her eyes quickly scanning her lair for an assassin who might have crept in. The cave seemed empty, it wasn’t an intruder who had wakened her so abruptly. On an instinct, she started to scan across the gorgons who had made the trip to Palelabour. They were all present, but one mind, one far removed from the rest was gone. Euryale knew who that mind was and could guess why it was no longer showing up on her scan. Lakheenahuknaasi are you there my child?

Silence.

Euryale repeated the call over and over but there was no response. Her fears were confirmed, Lakheenahuknaasi was dead. She had expected it, the earth-bound gorgon had lasted longer than she had expected and the information she had brought back was more than valuable. It had given Euryale an insight into human habits and capabilities that had stunned her. She had shared only a little of that information with Belial, keeping most of it close to her chest because the implications were so overwhelming. Besides, information was a treasure and nobody parted with treasure when they didn’t have to. Now, the source of that treasure was cut off and Euryale would have to make do with what she had.

One thing stuck in her mind. Lakheenahuknaasi had told her humans were vengeful and held grudges a long time. She had told Euryale of historical disputes that had gone on for centuries over some small, insignificant patch of land. In some parts of the human realm, feuds had gone on for centuries over some minor insult whose original cause had been long forgotten. When she had heard that, Euryale realized that the humans would not forgive the destruction of Detroit and Sheffield. They would want vengeance and would go to any lengths to achieve it. The destruction of the Adamantine Fortress had shown that. Euryale had flown over to it, seeing how it had been crushed into ruins. If Belial hadn’t had the insight to get them out, he and all his clan would now be dead.

Euryale relaxed back on her bed, staring at the ceiling of her lair. Human vengeance was a certain factor and they would not stop until they got it. So how would she and her gorgons survive the impending disaster? That was the question and it still nagged at her mind until she slipped back into sleep.

The Ultimate Temple, Heaven

This, Michael-lan thought was going to be tricky.

Yahweh was sitting on his throne, in the same half-bemused position that he had occupied when Michael-lan had last seen him. His eyes were remote, unfocussed, hypnotized by the rhythmic chants of praise that filled the air around him. Combined with the clouds of incense, they created a glurge of adoring worship that quite turned Michael’s stomach.

“Oh Great and Eternal Father of us All. I bring news of the great conflict between Earth and Hell and of the fate of our Eternal Enemy.”

Yahweh’s eyes snapped out of his trance and focused on Michael. “And have the humans been defeated? Has Satan done as we wished and taken them into his domain?”

Here we go. Michael’s inner mind relished the effect that his news was going to have on Yahweh. And let the good times roll. Michael-lan had liked New Orleans almost as much as he liked Las Vegas. He had been really upset with Yahweh when, in a fit of pique over something or other, Yahweh had turned the course of Hurricane Katrina on to New Orleans.

“No, Eternal Father. In fact, it is our Eternal Enemy who faces defeat. The humans go from strength to strength, they have smashed the armies of Hell, and killed many of the leading commanders. Beelzebub is dead, Asmodeus also, both killed by humans. Many more, too many to name now, although we have the list. The humans bombed the Eternal Enemy’s own palace, reducing it to rubble and killing all who attended him. The Eternal Enemy was spared only by chance. Dis itself is under siege and the Eternal Enemy is trapped inside. The humans command the skies over Hell, they have occupied much of its ground. Their armies go where they wish and destroy all who stand before them.

“But this is not all. Eternal Father, Highest of the High, Ruler of the Heavens” Michael left the ‘and Earth’ bit off, partly to annoy Yahweh, partly out of regard for the truth, but mostly because he’d get to that bit later. “The Humans have struck at the Plateau of Minos. They have killed Minos and all who labored with him and they have seized the plateau. All the humans who die are now transported to the parts of Hell occupied by humans. Not one human soul goes to Hell.”

Yahweh exploded with rage, his fury causing the clouds of incense to roll back and forth. “They have done what? It was my eternal will that humans should suffer for all eternity save those I thought worthy of salvation. And none now are worthy of that. You tell me they have once more rejected my divine commands?”

Oh, this was good thought Michael. Brightens up a dull millennia perfectly. He hadn’t had so much fun since he’d slipped Saint Peter a large dose of LSD he’d obtained on a trip to ‘Vegas.

“There is more O Immaculate One. The human church has repudiated you. They have excommunicated you. They have declared you a false god and affirmed that their beliefs apply to a true god whom you usurped.”

That did it. To Michael’s unrevealed delight, Yahweh went ballistic. Lightning bolts flashed around the throne room of the UltimateTemple and ricocheted off the walls, sending showers of pristine diamond flakes spiraling through the air. Thunder racked and rolled the air of heaven, sending people scurrying through the alabaster streets, seeking cover from the wrath that all too obviously centered on the Ultimate Temple. Eventually, the air calmed down and Yahweh started making sense again.

“Which church did this?”

“The Christians Eternal Father.”

“The one that idiot son of mine invented? Is he involved in this? What is the stupid moron up to now anyway?”

“I believe he is in retreat Eternal Father. Meditating on his existence in an effort to improve himself. By which I mean mentally added Michael He is getting ready to try out some really good grass I scored on my last trip to Earth. And I’ll be joining him as soon as I’ve got this tiresome chore out of the way. Anyway, blaming him for this mess is quite unreasonable, we all told you that the humans were advancing faster than anybody could expect but did you listen? Oh no, you had to know best didn’t you?

Yahweh nodded, his rage subsiding. “Is there anything else?”

“Not much O Heavenly Father. Only that some humans called lawyers have sued you in the Louisiana Supreme Court for damages resulting from Hurricane Katrina’s destruction of New Orleans. The Church described that as being ‘an act of God’ and that’s been taken as an admission of guilt. According to the judge, you owe the State of Louisiana eighty billion dollars.”

That did it, more lightning flashes battered the already-scarred walls of the throne room. For a moment Michael thought Yahweh was going to have a seizure but he controlled himself. “And what am I expected to do about that?”

“Well, you could pay them. Or you could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. That would mean you have to hire some lawyers though and most of them work for the Eternal Enemy. Or you could ignore them but then the humans might send an Army to collect it.”

This time the lightning flashes were multi-colored and went on for a long time. “My patience is at an end. Uriel’s plans are laid, the cups of wrath are ready to be poured. We will inflict tribulations on the humans that they cannon imagine even in their wildest nightmares. Order Uriel to set forth without further delay. The humans will weep for their insults to me.”

“Your will be done Eternal Father.” Michael took a step backwards and headed out of the palace. He’d been right, it had been a tricky meeting but he’d pulled it off. Uriel would set forth and, if Michael was any judge of the way things were going, he wouldn’t find it a happy experience. Anyway, that was for the future and, contrary to Yahweh’s frequently voiced opinions, the future could be trusted to take care of itself. In the immediate present, Michael planned to get stoned.

The Oval Office, The White House, Washington D.C.

“Are we all set up?”

“Yes Mister President. The equipment we asked for has arrived, four AN-124 transports landed with them on board a few hours ago. Putin sent the crews as well, so we wouldn’t have to waste time training our own people. So, all we need is the word and we’re set to go.

“Apart from that, everything is going well. The last organized demonic armies in hell have been dispersed, the city of Dis is cut off. We’ve seized the reception area for our dead and redirected them towards our own territory. That’s going well, Expedia.com are even advertising trips to our refugee and recovery area in hell so grieving relatives can welcome their deceased family members into the next life. Bit pricey but if that’s what the market demands… Anyway, as long as they don’t interrupt the logistics streams into Hell, that doesn’t worry us. The sky volcanoes have been shut down and the source of them bombed.”

“An interesting thing there Sir.” Doctor Surlethe cut across Secretary Warner when the Senator paused to catch his breath. “As far as we can make out, Tartarus is the contra-coup from the Hell Pit.”

“What?” President Bush looked confused. That was the sort of statement that made his head ache.

“Its like this Sir.” Surlethe produced a strip of paper, gave it a half-twist and stuck the ends together with tape. “Any dimension in hell is like this a Moebius Strip. The whole of hell is like this, we can’t visualize it because it needs extra dimensions but it does. Now, look at this.” He took a pencil and drew a line on the paper, around the circle. It kept going, without the point being lifted from the paper, until eventually it reached its starting point. “You see Sir, the paper only has one surface, a loop without the twist has two,. Hell is like this Sir, no matter which way you go, we always end up where we started, in every dimension. Now, the bombers flew to Tartarus and back, its exactly half way around the world from the Hell Pit. So if we draw that in the Moebius Strip, we see that half way around is exactly where the Hell Pit is on the other side of the dimension. Mathematically, that’s fascinating.”

“I’m sure Doctor. Secretary Warner, in spite of all the good news and the progress we have made, I trust nobody is going to declare that we have reached the end of major combat operations?”

“No Sir. That caused enough trouble the last time.”

“Good. Thank you for the briefing. Oh, Doctor Surlethe. You said this Moebius Strip effect works for all dimensions in the Hell-dimension? So surely it should apply to time as well?”
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Post by JN1 » 2008-08-20 12:17pm

Bodie and Doyle? :lol: Nice one, Bodie was supposed to have been an ex-SAS NCO as it happens.
If the majority of the Regiment have been deployed to Hell I'd expect this team to either be from R Squadron, 22 SAS, or Territorials from 21, or 23 SAS.
The boffins should get some interesting information from the dead gorgon, providing it doesn't rot too much.

Nice work, Stu.
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Post by Andras » 2008-08-20 12:20pm

Well done, the Yahweh scene had me laughing.

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Post by DarthShady » 2008-08-20 12:22pm

Awesome chapter.

It's nice to see a bit more about Heaven.

Can't wait to see what Uriel will do.
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Post by Bayonet » 2008-08-20 12:23pm

Stuart wrote: So surely it should apply to time as well?”
:shock:


I like Michael-lan. I sure hope he makes it! In any event, I hope we see more of him. He's a hoot!

When do we get to meet The Holy Ghost? There's gotta be some sort of scurrilous reference to The Pentacost.
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Post by Shermpotter » 2008-08-20 12:27pm

A great chapter, Stuart!!! Michael and Jesus getting stoned is pretty original. St. Peter on acid had to have been a sight to see....
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Post by darthdavid » 2008-08-20 12:29pm

:shock:
Stoner angels and time travel? There are quite a few interesting implications...

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Post by CaptainChewbacca » 2008-08-20 12:41pm

Bayonet wrote:
Stuart wrote: So surely it should apply to time as well?”
:shock:
Yeah, I love that GW picked up on something none of us thought of, in almost eighty chapters. I'm conflicted on this chapter, because Michael seemed a little TOO relaxed/stoned/silly. Perhaps tightening it up just a little might help, I'm not sure. Oh, and Jesus needs to come back to earth FAST. If he's an introspective stoner, he's gonna convert a LOT of hippies to Christianity.

I like that he's God's 'idiot son', too. I guess there's no pleasing some parents.
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Post by GrandMasterTerwynn » 2008-08-20 01:12pm

CaptainChewbacca wrote:
Bayonet wrote:
Stuart wrote: So surely it should apply to time as well?”
:shock:
Yeah, I love that GW picked up on something none of us thought of, in almost eighty chapters.
From the mouths of babes . . .
I'm conflicted on this chapter, because Michael seemed a little TOO relaxed/stoned/silly. Perhaps tightening it up just a little might help, I'm not sure. Oh, and Jesus needs to come back to earth FAST. If he's an introspective stoner, he's gonna convert a LOT of hippies to Christianity.

I like that he's God's 'idiot son', too. I guess there's no pleasing some parents.
I agree. Michael's presentation and characterization in this chapter was absolutely jarring, and seemed to be completely at odds with how he was written in prior chapters. Example:
Armageddon wrote:The Ultimate Temple, Heaven

The archangel Michael strode forward into the Temple. All about him, the people sang; he could feel the ecstasy of the choirs of angels, of those few, fortunate saved humans. As he entered the Holiest of Holies, the thick marble of the temple walls drowned out the beautiful music outside; reduced to a dim glow, he focused his attention on the sight before him.

It awed him every time without fail: the great white throne, with its flashing lightning and pealing thunder surrounding the giant figure who sat on it, the One Above All Others. Before the throne were the seven great, gold lamps, burning their ceaseless incense so that the clouds of scented smoke hung thick and hazy, the smell clinging to everything. Michael loved it.


Whereas, in this chapter, those same things are described as turning his stomach. Also in that same chapter, Michael was excited at the thought of sending Uriel out onto the world. Yes, there are hints that Michael probably views Yahweh with no small degree of irreverence, but this knocked me clear out of suspension-of-disbelief.

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Post by SCRawl » 2008-08-20 01:14pm

The last two parts of the latest chapter seemed almost like comic relief, which did make for a welcome change. Is this the point where we move from the conflict in Hell to the Angelic Wars?
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Post by The Vortex Empire » 2008-08-20 01:16pm

Michael and Jesus stoned? Awesome.

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Post by Crayz9000 » 2008-08-20 01:17pm

<rolls around on the floor laughing> We all knew it... Jesus is a hippie! :lol:
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Post by Stuart » 2008-08-20 01:22pm

GrandMasterTerwynn wrote:
Armageddon wrote:The Ultimate Temple, Heaven

The archangel Michael strode forward into the Temple. All about him, the people sang; he could feel the ecstasy of the choirs of angels, of those few, fortunate saved humans. As he entered the Holiest of Holies, the thick marble of the temple walls drowned out the beautiful music outside; reduced to a dim glow, he focused his attention on the sight before him.

It awed him every time without fail: the great white throne, with its flashing lightning and pealing thunder surrounding the giant figure who sat on it, the One Above All Others. Before the throne were the seven great, gold lamps, burning their ceaseless incense so that the clouds of scented smoke hung thick and hazy, the smell clinging to everything. Michael loved it.


Whereas, in this chapter, those same things are described as turning his stomach. Also in that same chapter, Michael was excited at the thought of sending Uriel out onto the world. Yes, there are hints that Michael probably views Yahweh with no small degree of irreverence, but this knocked me clear out of suspension-of-disbelief.
To some extent there is a discontinuity there that I'll fix when I go over this as a whole and clean it up. The Michael-lan character is supposed to be somebody who puts great outward shows of deference and respect but is actually thinking and scheming quite differently. His motivations for getting Uriel out and on his way are much more devious than excitement. The primary purpose of this section is

a - to start a bridge towards the next book in the series.

b - to stress the fact that Heaven is a very different place from hell despite the similarities between Satan and Yahweh. Heaven is a much 'lighter" place, it lacks the nightmarish monomaniacal intensity of Hell. Note that Michael is happy to goad Yahweh a little, something that would get him killed if he tried it on Satan in hell.

c - to note the fact that Heaven is much more aware of what humans are capable of than Hell was.

EDIT. OK, I've partially fixed the earlier part (in the completed fanfics) to clarify Michael-lan's thought processes and attitudes. Like everybody else he is a conflicted person, dealing with his duties and responsibilities on one level and his doubts about what he is doing on another. This time he appears, he's suddenly beginning to appreciate that Yahweh has bitten off much more than he can chew and that is offering him a solution to that internal conflict. He's also growing as the story progresses and he sees that humans are not the creatures they once were - and that relations with them have to change.

This section is also intended to point out that the angels etc are very different creatures from the demons in hell. Their attitudes, habits and behavior patterns are quite different.
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Post by Darth Wong » 2008-08-20 01:47pm

Only a little bit of tweaking is required, IMO. For example, it is not uncommon to run into real-life Protestant Christians who love the ornate pomp and circumstance and architecture of the grand old Catholic churches and their proceedings, while despising the Catholic church itself and its history. Or pacifists who can still feel a stirring in their hearts at military parades or martial heroism stories.
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Post by Peptuck » 2008-08-20 01:55pm

The Duchess of Zeon wrote:
Peptuck wrote:
Stuart wrote: Actually, the remarkable thing is that troops will surrender even if they know the enemy will kill them anyway. The need to survive now overrides the prospect of death a few minutes later.
True. The only last stands I can think of off the top of my head where the defenders went into it knowing they'd be wiped out are the Alamo and Thermopylae, and even in the latter case the Thespians surrendered when surrounded, and only the Spartans and their slaves stood their ground. Though in that case, the Spartans were indoctrinated warriors from birth.
No, the Thespians also fought to the death (the story of Thermopylae is really the story of the Thespians, not the Spartans, the Spartans just had better press, and more power, but it was the citizen-soldiers of Thespiae whose determination and courage were most remarkable); it was the Thebans, the third city-state whose troops were present at the end (the others having been sent away when the Persians broke through), and also the largest (I don't think that's coincidental) which surrendered to the Persians when surrounded. The reason it's not coincidental is that it's easy to select a group of 300 - 700 picked men to fight to the death, because there will always be aberrations from normal human behaviour; once you start getting units greater than a thousand, that's getting progressively harder to concentrate enough men in them who all have the same sort of mentality, and you need them to ALL be like that, because even the picked men will panic and surrender if you have a small number of less fanatical individuals around to start the panic.
Ah. I thought it was only the Spartans who had fought to the death. Thanks for the correction.
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